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Townsville Solar City

As part of the Australian Government's Solar Cities program, we led the Townsville based Solar City consortium. This included Townsville City Council, local developers, and funding from the Queensland Government.

The program ran from 2006 to 2013 and was one of seven Solar Cities throughout Australia. It trialed new, sustainable models for electricity supply in large-scale grid connected urban sites, including:

  • distributed solar technologies
  • energy efficiency
  • electricity load management
  • smart meters and cost-reflective pricing.

The project achieved a key goal to provide a model of how solar energy and energy efficiency can deliver environmental and economic benefits. This has deferred the need to upgrade the sub-sea cable connecting Magnetic Island to the mainland thanks to a significant reduction in peak demand.

The project's success was driven by the desire to reduce carbon emissions. This has deferred the need for more undersea electricity cable in the World Heritage marine park for at least eight years. So far the cable has already been deferred for more than a decade.

In 2011/12, Magnetic Islanders reduced peak electricity usage by 46%. They slashed consumption by an average of 44%, bringing both down to 2005 levels. 

Much of this has been due to an engagement strategy which underpinned the take-up of new and renewable technologies. The project team focused on engagement styles to embed a long-term approach to energy use. 

The re-usable energy behaviour change model included hosting solar arrays for community rather than personal benefit.

Townsville Solar City captured public imagination, enlisted local support, and changed customer behaviour across an entire community. It delivered a formidable assault on traditional demand management models.

For further information, please review the Townsville Queensland Solar City Final Report 2006-2013 (PDF 3.9 mb).